Day 16 - Paris

Today was our final day of the tour and our last opportunity to see Paris.

We started the morning by visiting the Palace of Versailles, and incredible building with some amazing art pieces.

From there we went back into the centre of Paris and walked through Notre-Dame and Luxembourg Gardens, before grabbing a quick lunch  and heading to the airport for our flight home.

It has been a fantastic few weeks, with a great bunch of players and supports - next stop Australia! (via Dubai)

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Day 15 - Paris

This morning we met up with our local Paris guide, Summer. We spent the morning taking in all the sights Paris has to offer (including some Paris traffic).

We saw the Notre Dame, both the new and original Opera Houses, Luxembourg Gardens to name a few before driving the coach around the Arc de Triomphe! A roundabout with no lanes at all! Along the way we learnt about some of the famous street artists and what it is like to live, work and study in France.


After our lunch stop at a selection of French bakeries and cafes we climbed The Eiffel Tower!

The day was perfect, the sun was out and we were all able to take in the city of Paris from above, and spot many of the sights we saw on the coach this morning.


From the Eiffel Tower we headed to The Louvre, where our first stop was the Mona Lisa. We then spent the rest of the afternoon wandering the halls taking in the incredible artworks.


We had dinner near the gardens of the Louvre before returning to the hotel to pack before our flight tomorrow evening.

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Day 14 - The Battlefields

This morning we were met at our hotel by our guide Vic, who took us through some of the Battlefields of France.

Our first stop was The Adelaide Cemetery, where many Australians lay      It was from this cemetery the body of the unknown soldier who rests in Canberra was taken.

From there we visited the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Brettoneoux. On this memorial are the names of the many who lost their lives in the war. On the memorial you can see damage from fire during the Second World War. We also visited the Sir John Monash Centre and had the opportunity to get more of an insight to what the soldiers experienced day to day.

We then went to the Lochnagar Crater, a huge crater which remains following a number of mines exploding. At the time of the many explosions the tremors were so strong it is said they were felt in London.

Our final two stops were to see the First Australian Division memorial and the Second Australian Division memorial outside Pozieres. This memorial mark two places where Australian soldiers had a huge impact on the war, but also where many Australians lost their lives. It was a somber morning, but everyone appreciated the opportunity to listen, learn and reflect.  

From the Somme we then made our way to our hotel on Paris for a quick check in before heading to The Champs Élysées for dinner. After dinner we climbed the Arc de Triomphe for an incredible view of Paris at night.  

Before heading back to our hotel we watched The Eiffel Tower light up, what a fabulous end to our first evening in Paris.  

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Day 12 - Game 2 v London and London tour

Today we played our last game of Gaelic Football for the tour against our English opponents, London Ladies LGFA.

Our players have adjusted extremely well to the Irish game playing full Gaelic rules today for the four quarters.

The round ball came out for the first two quarters and we had girls hopping, soloing and hook kicking. We were very competitive and by the half time break had a one point lead.

In the second half, out came the Sherrin and with a howling wind we  were able to score multiple times against it with goals and overs.

In the last term we extended our lead and were able to score our second win while in England.

The hospitality at the club was again amazing. Hot soup and sandwiches to warm the girls up and entertainment from their clubs 92 year old President, Joe, on the harmonica.

The girls have certainly grown as a team over the seven games and look far more confident with the round ball then they probably thought they were capable.

When in England of course you have to tick off the big ticket tourist attractions. And that we did. The girls first stop of the day was the Tower of London. We got to see the Crown Jewels and learnt a lot about King Henry VIII.

Starting our walking tour of London at Buckingham Palace, our Tour Leader Lil was full of great information and interesting facts. We walked down The Mall to Trafalgar Square where once again Lil gave great interesting facts to all our girls. Walking from Trafalgar Square we visited the Horse Guards Parade then passed Downing St where the Prime Minister lives. This was on the way to Parliament Square where we saw Big Ben under construction as well as Westminster Abbey, which was also partially under construction. After walking around the city of London for a couple of hours it was off to dinner at Camden Market.

There was a great variety of food from all cultures at Camden Market as well as many stalls selling art, souvenirs, clothes and more. The girls had dinner and dessert with a lot of sweets available also. The night finished with some shopping before heading to the hotel to get ready for our journey to France in the morning.

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Day 11 - Game 1 v London and Crystal Palace v Watford

Today we played our first game in London. Everyone is really starting to work well as a team, and we have well and truly figured out the round ball (but we still love using our ball in the second half!) 

We all really enjoyed the physicality of the game, and can’t wait to play against the London girls again tomorrow morning for our last game on tour. 

After the game, and some London traffic, we watched Crystal Palace play Watford FC. Unfortunately Crystal Palace couldn’t hold onto their lead and Watford went home with the win, but the atmosphere was incredible and made the game super exciting.  

 

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Day 10 - The Cotswolds

This morning we had a late start, giving us all some extra time to enjoy Heythrop Park. From Heythrop we made our way to Stow-on-the-wold, our first stop on our tour of the Cotswolds. Here we wandered through the little town, with many of us checking out the lollie shops.

From here we started our driving tour through the towns admiring all of the Cotswold stone homes.

Our lunch stop today was in shutout Power, a town of 300 people, with one general store, but 2 pubs. We ate at one of the pubs called the Hollow Bottom, it was delicious.

We then made our way to another town called Borton-on-The-water for our last stop before travelling to London for the night in preparation for our first game in England.

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Day 7 - Croke Park and Final game knows Ireland

Today we left our host families at St Brigid’s and headed back toward Dublin.

First stop the famous stadium Croke Park. Our tour guide shared many great stories about the iconic stadium and you certainly got tingles walking up the race to go out to the pitch. So much history and such an amazing place to visit on our tour.

To complete the tour there were many interactive games in the museum (hurling and goalkicking were the highlights which the girls loved to try their hands at).

Our last and final game in Ireland took place later in the afternoon.

Lucan Sarsfield hosted us and we were welcomed again by fantastic hospitality and a visit from the Australian Ambassador.

The Gaelic ball was used for the first two quarters and our girls have certainly improved after each and every game. The first quarter Lucan pulled away early with 3 goals and a couple of overs, but in the second we were able to keep them scoreless with their own ball.

Out came the Sherrin for the second half and we began to control the game on our terms. We scored a couple of goals in the third to make the last and final quarter a very tight tussle.

We fell short by a few points to Lucan Sarsfield, but the game was very close every step of the way.

We were again welcomed with open arms in the clubhouse for some great Irish music and fantastic company. The girls were all presented a medal from the club and should be very proud of the way they have played the five games while in Ireland.

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Day 6 - Game 4 v St Brigid’s LGFA and Blarney Castle

Our first stop today was at Blarney Castle where the girls got to climb to the top of the castle. There they also got to kiss the Blarney Stone. After exploring the grounds and more of the castle itself it was time to head off to play our next game of the tour.

The players and families of the St Brigid’s were most welcoming and happy to play rules from both AFL and GAA. From the very start of the game it was a very even contest. A high scoring first quarter gave the girls a lot of confidence, especially with the Gaelic ball. The second quarter was no different, an even contest and a lot of great team play. It was clear that the team were taking onboard instructions from the coaches and starting to play some very good Gaelic football.

The Sherrin was introduced in the third quarter for the remainder of the game. Our girls continued to play a fantastic Gaelic style game. The final quarter was the best quarter the girls have played on tour, scoring multiple goals and and many overs (points). In the end it was Wanderers who were victorious. Every player contributed to the win and played to the best of their ability.

St. Brigid’s then hosted all players and families at Murphy’s Pub for dinner, presentation and an all round great night. The girls went home with their hosts for more of the Irish experience.

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Day 5 - Killarney to Cork and Game 3 v Glanmire LGFA

After travelling to Cork today the girls played against their next hosts, Glanmire LGFA. The girls got to play on a hyrbrid field at Pairc Ui Chaoimh and it was the first international game played on the new field since being built.

The Lord Mayor of Cork was at the game to welcome the girls before they took to the field. They then sang both national anthems and then it was time for the first ball-up.

Playing more Gaelic rules in today’s game, the girls defended a lot during the first half. It was a great learning experience for them as they developed the skills to be able to defend without tackling their opponent. As a team, the girls learned the new skills at an exponential rate and with the help of the Sherrin football in the second half, really got back in the game on the scoreboard.

At half time our hosts put out behind posts so the scoring changes slightly to be that of the international rules format. Their Gaelic skills developing rapidly, and our knowledge of the oval shaped ball meant that our forwards had the Irish under a lot of pressure. Kicking many goals and overs, the score was very close in the end.

We were invited back to the Glanmire clubhouse for lunch and presentations. Our girls and staff also got the opportunity to try hurling with the help of our new Irish friends. It was then time for the girls to go off with their billetts for the night.

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Day 4 - Killarney

Today we said farewell to our amazing hosts and spent the first hour of our coach journey telling each other stories from our stay. 

Our first stop for the day was Adare Village where we wandererd through the town and saw some thatched roof houses.  

After lunch we saw some of the sights around Killarney including Ross Castle, Fitzgerald Stadium (where Tadhg Kennelli played Gaelic Football for County Kerry), and Aghadoe to get our pic of the day while getting a view of part of the Ring of Kerry. 

Dinner tonight was in a local Irish pub before we all went to bed to prepare for our next game in Cork.  

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Day 3 - Mullingar to Limerick and Game 2 v Monaleen

This morning the girls were dropped to the bus by their host families ready to explore more of Ireland. Last night the girls spent a lot of time with their host families as they went to ten pin bowling for fun activities in the evening.

Once all the girls were back we got on the bus and began our journey to the next town. Our first stop on the way was at Athlone Castle for a quick walk around the castle and the town of Athlone itself. Then it was time to head to Monaleen where we were to play our second game of the tour.

The game was played on a synthetic pitch at the University of Limerick against wonderful opponents. We played a very good team game today and caught hard in a very tight contest. During the third quarter we got to play with the Sherrin which the Irish found difficult. This helped give us a lot of momentum up forward and kept the score of the game very close. It was clear that our girls were more comfortable with the Gaelic rules as they scored both goals and overs and played a very even match. There was only a few points in the game at the end of the match and all the girls had learnt a lot from our first game. It was obvious that they were taking on advice from the coaches and willing to learn new skills and a new game.

Our hosts then put on dinner for everyone back at their clubhouse. Each of our players were presented with a pair of Monaleen’s playing socks as a gift. As the parents returned to the hotel, the players stayed at the clubhouse for a night of celebration before spending the night with their host families.

The game was played in great spirits and Monaleen were wonderful hosts after the match. It was great to be back after having boys team play here in the past. We look forward to returning In the future.

Thank you Monaleen for the wonderful hospitality and for playing against us in the spirit of both our national games.

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Day 2 - Game 1 v Mullingar Shamrocks

Today we left Dublin and made our way towards Mullingar.

On the way we stopped off at Trim Castle, which was one of the castles in the movie Braveheart.


Then it was off to play our first game!

The girls had a tough game first up with some new rules and a different shaped ball. The defensive players got a work out early with the Irish girls possessing the ball early in the forward half. Giving their all, the Aussie girls worked hard to reduce the Irish from scoring. We also had our chances to score but with the round ball we found it difficult. The girls who rotated through the position of goalie were fantastic and made it difficult for the Irish to score. The second half was played with our Sherrin which we managed much better. To our surprise the Irish girls played well with the different ball. This kept the game nice and tight right to the end. Mullingar got the win in the end, however it was no easy feat as our defensive pressure was good throughout the game.

We enjoyed our time after the game with our hosts and the girl went home with their host families for the evening. Thanks Mullingar the fantastic hospitality, and for looking after our girls. We look forward to coming back in the future!

 

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Day 1 - Dublin

Today was our first day in Ireland!

We had a little sleep in after our huge day of travelling before exploring Dublin.

We started by visiting a sports shop to pick up some Gaelic footballs for our first training run.

Training was a great opportunity to get moving after hours on the plane, and a good introduction to the round ball and international rules.

After training we stopped by Trinity College, saw how big the grounds were, and had a bite to eat.

After lunch we were lucky enough to have a guided tour of Dublin by our fantastic coach driver. We saw the many coloured doors, the President’s house, Collins st Bridge, the Spire, the Post Office and the Guinness Factory.

After our tour we hopped off the coach at Collins St, the main st in Dublin for some free time before dinner and an early night to prepare for game 1 tomorrow.

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